Hello to you. It’s Thursday as I write to you in your where and when. Have you ever had a lot on your mind? Have you ever had a bunch of things you think you should do but just can’t bring yourself to do any of the things you used to do? My current dilemma is voting in the upcoming elections in our town. I have seen signs around town telling me who is running for office, but I don’t know who these people are. There are a lot of issues I’m concerned about but don’t even know if my going to vote will have any impact. My husband and I have voted before and just didn’t feel like our votes counted. I guess I’m experiencing a bit of apathy about things like this. All of what I am sharing is from my own personal experience and so keep that in mind if you decide to read what I’ve written here!
There are several major concerns for me. They are ongoing issues we’ve been dealing with as a community since my husband and I moved here back in 2009. We have tried to do something about many of these things but little has changed. Many of the issues are town has had to face are so expensive, like the city water system, that it’s been a very slow walk to getting things dealt with.
Am I a bad person if I don’t choose to vote on 5 May 2018?
Well it would make me a hypocrite of sorts. My husband and I have been hard on people in the past when they told us they weren’t going to vote. For the 2016 election, my husband and I went and voted. We each voted for we who we felt would best serve the country. We prepared as best we could. I voted for a candidate that was a 3rd party candidate. My hope was that if enough people would do so, we would have the option for future elections. Unfortunately, my thought process didn’t seem to make a difference. It seems, as is customary, most people voted along party lines.
I feel like we need more choices….more options. There is a quote I have read somewhere, by Mark Twain that says “if voting truly mattered, they wouldn’t let us do it.” I guess it’s a darned if you, darned if you don’t kind of set of circumstances. If you don’t vote, you kind of give up the right to complain about the results but ironically….we still complain anyways regardless of how things go!
There is a part of the voting process I have a problem with, the electoral college. It feels like with this system in place, the value of our votes is somehow diminished. When my husband and I lived in Delaware, it was primarily a Democratic state. We registered as Democrats. We voted in the 2008 election and felt like our vote mattered. Now we live in Texas, which is primarily a Republican state. We are still registered Democrats. Knowing what we do about the Electoral College, it felt like our vote in the 2016 election was pretty much irrelevant. It seems like, as I look back over the past couple of years, there is a divine plan at work. For those of you who read my blog on a regular basis, you know that there has been a part of me wondering if this wasn’t some reverse psychology experiment to try to repair our damaged country. I want to believe positive changes are manifesting as I write today!
So what do I do for this upcoming local election right?? Not vote and risk losing the option or vote and get a resentment? I’m just not sure yet what I will do. My Mom, for the last elections in her town, and I’ve done this too, got ballots prior to the election. She did this so she could research what was up for voting before she went in and cast her ballot. There doesn’t seem to be an easy, unbiased way to research candidates especially for local elections. Not everyone has easy access to the internet. I don’t know if my town has ballots people can pick up to read and information about candidates. Sometimes I’ve seen stuff like this at the public library. I wonder if they have ever considered mailing them out to all those in their water bill system? We get both an electronic and paper copy of our bill now. We tried to pay online, but there is a service fee and we chose not to participate.
I would like to see more diverse representation of life for our town. For one local election a few years ago, one of the candidates, a woman, actually walked around and came to our door to talk to us. We ended up voting for her but she lost to incumbents holding office. We had a lot of admiration for her being willing to actually take the time to talk to us in person so we could put a face with the name on the ballot. Right now, as it stands, I do not feel qualified to vote for our local election. I have a lot of concerns I think a candidate should know about and hopefully address in their tenure in office.
I am concerned about our drinking water and personally concerned about living next to natural gas lines running along utility lines along a major road. The soil in which the lines are running is expansive clay soil and next the lines are several electrical and internet lines. I was very upset when they fracked the natural gas well in between our middle school and junior high school. We had a gas leak a couple of years ago and didn’t find out about it until a neighbor who used gas in their house told us about it. Why aren’t there sensors all along the lines or are there? Are they being monitored so if something goes wrong people are directly notified? If not, why not?! We have natural gas lines running all through our town and it really kind of scares me. I’ve written about the issues we’ve had since we moved here many times. I have deleted many posts just because it seemed like a moot point because it just keeps happening. I feel bad for the person running our town, heck our state. It must be very difficult to be responsible for managing something like a city, state or country. So much money is required to maintain what seems to be a crumbling infrastructure. For our town, a lot of those repairs are chronic and homeowners like myself end up paying more than once for what it takes to extract energy from the earth. We have spent thousands of dollars on our home and all the repairs we’ve had to make are not covered by our home owners insurance. I know with all energy systems there is risk, but natural gas is particularly scary for me. Even though we don’t choose to use it in our home, we are still subjected to the risks our neighbors incur by choosing to use it in their homes and businesses.
We are getting a new subdivision down the street when we have so many other pre-existing things going on that are not be addressed it seems. The other day I was using a pot of tap water with some essential oil in it and it cooked all the way down. There was a white powder residue at the bottom of the pot! I have seen this same white powder on my soaker hose that we use to water the grass and that’s part of the reason we don’t drink tap water in our town. We reported the problem to the city and they came out to investigate. They told us just to run the lines to clear it which didn’t make sense to me. We have had reoccurring problems with regards to drinking water ever since we first moved here. I have a health condition and have to take medication as do many other people in our area. There are many families with elderly and young children. I hope the water is safe. Personally I would like to be able to trust the tap water and stop having to feel like I need to buy water in plastic containers from the local grocery store.
I hope that whomever is elected will ensure each department has enough staff. A couple of years ago, prior to the contract being approved for the subdivision near completion down the street, I warned the city that they needed to make sure we had adequate resources for growth. Just the traffic alone is a concern. With 120 units going in, with a minimum of 2 cars per house, that’s about 240 additional cars being added to the traffic on North Cummings. There are currently only two ways out of the subdivision and in the event of an emergency, this could prove to be a hardship for the families living there now. I think the city still has the option, to create another exit point. I have been told the RV Park owns the property that would be required to make another exit point for the neighborhood.
I hope the people who plan to run the town are going to make sure we have the dog park that we were told by other citizens was promised some 15 or 20 years ago. A lot of people have dogs in our town. I have tried to participate in local politics. I served on the Planning and Zoning Committee, the Parks board and my husband and I used to attend City Council meetings. We stopped having anything to do with most things going on in town after what happened with the subdivision process. I was pretty hurt about it. I went before the council and spoke for probably 15 minutes with my Mom, my husband and another neighbor present. I didn’t feel we were prepared for what adding so many more people to the town would mean and what I said didn’t seem to matter. It was like they had already decided what they were going to do and just let me talk anyways.
Sigh….such is local politics and pretty much every layer on up to the White House in my opinion. It’s so complex and so hard to find a middle ground for just about anything it seems. I am going to be praying about what I should do and do a little research to see if there is anything on the City web page about the election: http://www.cityofalvarado.org/.
I hope something here is helpful to someone out there. I’m not trying to put a stick in the hive. I am just sharing my own personal experience with the voting process from a perspective at the lowest level and I hope it’s helpful. Ultimately, you have to decide for yourself what you would do if you were in similar circumstances. You can decide to do nothing or to at least try to speak up. Writing is pretty much the only way I have found for myself that I can try to make any sort of difference for hopefully the better.
26 Aug 2016 – I wrote this in my pink spirit book while waiting to get a military identification card and it seems appropriate to share with all this:
We choose our anger
We choose which
Direction we look
We choose our hallowed ground
For war or peace
Each space between an action
A thought unspent
A promise kept
It’s so easy to choose
A reflex….a flash
Buying a way out
With someone else’s cash
We choose to fill the space
In between thought and deed
We best avoid reliance
On the currency